Month: May 2017

Healy’s rookie year was a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season in Oakland

Limited Brandon Saad Jersey Hopefully, Schwarber stays healthy and we finally get to see what kind of numbers this guy’s capable of producing over a full season. It’s almost impossible for him to live up to the hype after he batted .412 in the World Series, but the Cubs are counting on a big season for the big lefty. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he hits 30 homers with an on-base percentage near or above .380.
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The big right-hander made 18 starts last year, but with a pretty elite crop of rookies in the NL, Taillon didn’t receive a single vote in the Rookie of the Year race despite his 3.38 ERA and outstanding 5.0 K/BB ratio. Don’t be surprised if the former No. 2 overall pick (in the 2010 draft) makes up for that slight by earning an All-Star nod in 2017.

Healy’s rookie year was a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season in Oakland. The 6-5 right-handed hitter joined the club after the All-Star break and proceeded to hit like he’d been in the majors for years; Healy batted .305 with 13 homers and an .861 OPS in 72 games. If he keeps that up this season, maybe folks outside the Bay Area will actually notice this rising star.

I grew up a National League fan. I’ve watched pitchers flail for decades. Pitchers should work on their hitting the same way hitters work on their fielding, but that isn’t a realistic expectation.

So let’s have a simple compromise: Allow the other eight guys pick up the DH’s or pitcher’s plate appearances. That way, pitchers stay away from the batter’s box, and they aren’t replaced by players who are even more one-dimensional.

Five MLB franchises that could end World Series title droughts in 2017

The team Chicago beat in last year’s Fall Classic, the Indians, haven’t won the title since 1948, a relatively quaint little stretch of 68 years. If manager Terry Francona works his magic — remember, he won two World Series titles with the Red Sox — Cleveland’s drought won’t make it into the 70-year club, much less the 80-year club.

Kids Jamie Meder Jersey In the spirit of snapping skids, let’s look at five more lengthy losing streaks that have a chance of ending with the 2017 season (sorry, Brewers and Padres fans, your teams aren’t breaking decades-long World Series droughts this year).

Meanwhile, reports instantly surfaced that they were trying to trade Osweiler for, yes, more picks. Which presumably also gets back that cap space they spent on him … which also presumably has cap implications if they can’t trade him.

They also might end up having to play him. That’s going to hang over them until they either find another quarterback somewhere, or until opening day, when they have to send someone out there to take snaps.

So yes, after all this, they still have the same questions: Where will they get their next quarterback, and how — and are they really going to kick this can down the road again? It looks kind of like the Browns are playing chess, and also like they’re playing with a live grenade.
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The present and future aren’t always determined by the past, even on historically wretched franchises like this one.

But until they prove otherwise … assume it’s a grenade.

NFL Draft 2017: Chiefs move way up to take Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes

The Chiefs really wanted Patrick Mahomes.

Kansas City moved up 17 spots from 27th overall to get the Texas Tech quarterback on Thursday.

The Bills, who held the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, received Kansas City’s pick at 27. The Bills also get Kansas City’s third-round pick this year (91st overall) and the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 2018.

The Cowboys still selected the 6-2, 240-pound Indiana native in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but he had lingering nerve damage after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee during Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State.

Though he’ll participate in the minicamp, Smith won’t do much. Garrett said Smith would just go through walkthroughs and sit in on meetings as he continues to progress during Phase 2 of the Cowboys offseason training program.

Smith is still wearing a brace on his knee, but the Cowboys are optimistic he can play this season.

“It seemed like he handled the work well last week, and he’s just done an amazing job right from the start with his rehab taking it day by day, making progress and we’ll continue to do that,” Garrett told reporters, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, during the team’s 13th annual Taste of the NFL. “If he takes that approach, that’s when he’s going to have his most success. That’s what he’s done up to this point”

The Seahawks ended up with 11 selections and had a clear plan for them — an advance rebuild of their defensive strengths. They got plenty of extra pop for their front four rotation, enough secondary players to reload The Legion of Boom. Darboh is a tough inside receiver they needed, and both Pacic and Senior make sure offensive line wasn’t ignored. With all those picks, maybe a linebacker or potential backup QB would have been nice, too.

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McNair is one of the classiest owners in the NFL and well thought of in league circles

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The Texans — particularly O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith — are acting happy to have rid themselves of a player with an inflated contract and, apparently, a bad attitude. But they shouldn’t be doing cartwheels. They blew it when they gave Osweiler his huge deal, amazingly without having met with him face-to-face.

Sam Steel Jersey In all my years as an NFL GM and team president, I never agreed to terms or signed a free agent without sitting down with him. It’s absurd that the Texans brass would make such a major commitment under those conditions. Even with an agent threatening to re-sign with Denver without an immediate commitment, what Houston did made no sense.

McNair is one of the classiest owners in the NFL and well thought of in league circles. But he should have insisted on such a meeting. He surely is embarrassed by how the Osweiler signing has completely unraveled at major expense in dollars wasted ($21 million paid to him last year in signing bonus, roster bonus and salary) and now a lost 2018 second-round pick. The deal also is a black mark on the resumes of Smith and O’Brien, and it will hurt them in future negotiations.

We looked through the MLB draft archives dating to the 2000 draft on Baseball-Reference.com and picked out the best players selected in that range, from No. 56 overall to No. 80 (because those guys were available at 75, obviously). To answer your question, yes, there are a ton of good players available at that point in the draft. Here are the best 15.

Bryce Harper crushes homer in first spring training at-bat

Bryce Harper had a down 2016 season, but if his first at-bat of 2017 is any indication, the Nationals superstar is set for a bounce-back year.
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In his first Grapefruit League plate appearance of the year, the outfielder launched a mammoth home run to right center field.

It’s a Long Way to October aired on WTBS over two nights beginning March 28, 1983. The crew, along with Turner, watched the premiere in a private room at an Atlanta restaurant.
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The reviews were unanimously positive 鈥?especially from Turner, who whooped and hollered and shouted praise around the room as he watched the idea that he proposed nearly 18 months earlier play out in front of him.

This is the greatest thing in the world! was Turner’s feedback that night.

To watch Ted’s pride 鈥?this was his baby. This was his idea from the beginning, Diamond said. And here he was watching it and he was excited.

After all, good entertainment is all Turner had wanted.

He was clapping, Diamond said. He was like a fan watching it. 鈥?That was as much fun as any of it, enjoying the night that it aired with Ted.

That the special was produced during the 1982 season seems fortuitous in hindsight, given the drama that unfolded. Perhaps Turner had an inkling that good things were in store. Or perhaps it was all luck.

Tony Romo will try to qualify for 2017 U.S. Open

Now that Tony Romo has retired from football, he has quite a bit more time to work on his other sport.

The former Cowboys quarterback, long renowned for his golfing skill, will attempt to qualify for the 2017 U.S. Open. Former ESPN reporter Ed Werder tweeted Wednesday that Romo is entered in the local qualifier in Aledo, Texas, which will be held May 8, and Romo is listed in the USGA’s database of entrants.

This is not the first time Romo has attempted to play his way into the U.S. Open. He tried in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and actually advanced to sectional qualifying in 2010 but had to withdraw because weather delays created a conflict with Cowboys practices.

Charles, 30, was released by the Chiefs in February after another injury-plauged season. His productivity had decreased over the last two years, largely because of the torn ACL he suffered in October 2015. He didn’t seem to fully recover from the injury, and didn’t take the field until Week 5 of the 2016 season.

He played in only three games until he suffered a setback in his knee that required surgery on his meniscus. Once again, Charles missed the end of the season.

Carolina did a little finer later on Day 2 with two values at positions of need with Western Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Moton and Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall. But the second-round selection of a player much like first-rounder Christian McCaffrey was a bit curious.

Sure the Panthers wanted a running back and more overall speed and quickness for their offense, but they got that in spades with McCaffrey. A more reliable wideout with a specific role would have been better, and a team that didn’t already have a rookie like him would have suited Samuel.cubs_2244

The pitchers have a dangerous weapon in their hands that they can buzz by batters at 100 miles per hour.

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Manny Machado isn’t going to charge the mound with bat in hand the next time a Red Sox pitcher throws at him. Well, probably not. When Machado suggested that he could do that very thing following Tuesday’s game — in which the Red Sox, courtesy Chris Sale, threw at Machado again — what the Orioles third baseman was trying to get across in his expletive-laden postgame interview is how dangerous and uneven the playing field is for hitters in these situations.

The pitchers have a dangerous weapon in their hands that they can buzz by batters at 100 miles per hour. The hitters just kind of have to take that abuse: If they charge the mound, bat or no, they’re likely to get ejected, fined, and suspended. Pitchers can just keep on throwing baseballs at hitters, though, until an umpire goes Hey, guys, that’s enough. I’m warning you, the next time a projectile that could literally kill someone is thrown at a batter, there will be one, maybe two ejections.

Ryan Griffin Authentic Jersey The Red Sox threw at Machado five times in their previous series, all because Machado had a dirty, but likely accidental, slide against Dustin Pedroia that knocked him out for a few games. Pedroia seems to be the only Red Sox player over the incident, as he publicly denounced Matt Barnes throwing behind Machado.

Kovalchuk is, from all accounts, still a premiere scoring talent, at least in the KHL, and if there’s one thing the Devils could use to improve it’s their defense putting the puck in the back of the net. We know that Kovy can do that, and if he’s willing to sign and come back to New Jersey, some would say there’s no reason not to bring what is probably at least another 20 goals into this currently scoring-anemic (outside of Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique, Taylor Hall and even somewhat Travis Zajac) fold.

Bills rescind UDFA offer for WR Keevan Lucas minutes after he announces signing to his own draft party

Keevan Lucas, a wide receiver out of Tulsa, had a rather stressful experience in NFL draft this past weekend. Lucas went undrafted and not only did he haveto wait all seven rounds just to be passed on entirely, but he then had to essentially be teased by a pair of teams.
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Lucas threw a party with nearly 300 people gathered to hear his name called in the draft. After he wasn’t drafted, he received a call from the Bills saying they wanted to sign him. He announced it in front of his friends and tweeted about it, only to have the Bills call back to withdraw the offer because of medical concerns.

Cleveland is the first team finished with its first round series in the playoffs. The Cavaliers dispatched the Pacers quicker than many thought, and in doing so, they will have time to decompress and relax until they meet their second-round opponent.

James and company face off against the winner of the No. 3 Toronto Raptors-No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks series, and after the Raptors surrendered Game 1 on their home floor, that matchup seems destined for seven games.

The Bucks and Raptors are tied at two apiece with the series headed back to Toronto for Game 5. If each team holds down home court over the next two games, Game 7 wouldn’t be played until April 29.

Youth Christopher Gibson Jersey That affords Cleveland more than a week’s rest time while the winner of the Bucks-Raptors series would have mere days to recover and game plan. So while the Cavaliers blew past the Pacers in four short games, they also did themselves a favor and cut down on mileage for their lengthy trip to three-peat as Eastern Conference Finals.

Capitals beat Penguins in overtime after blowing 2-goal Game 3 lead in regulation

Game Womens Richard Dent Jersey The Washington Capitals turned a potentially disastrous finish to Game 3 into something positive with a 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re now firmly in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series after Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winner to make up for blowing a 2-0 lead minutes earlier.

Even without Sidney Crosby, who left earlier in the game due to injury, the Penguins are the team nobody can put away. They delivered that message to the Capitals via a pair of last-minute goals in that forced overtime in backbreaking fashion after Pittsburgh fell behind, 2-0, through the first 58 minutes of action.

Evgeni Malkin has long been Crosby’s starring partner, and naturally he stepped into the limelight with his teammate out in the third period. Malkin rifled an absolute beauty of a one-timer to beat Braden Holtby with 1:53 remaining in regulation, cutting the Capitals’ lead in half.

Less than a minute later, the Penguins had their goalie pulled again when Justin Schultz fired a shot from the blue line that deflected off a defender’s stick and bounced high to beat Holtby. It was a brutal bounce for the Capitals, who were just 65 seconds away from their first win in the series.
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The Capitals will have a big opportunity at a comeback in this series, especially if Crosby is sidelined going forward. Either way, Washington just injected life back into its Stanley Cup hopes minutes after they appeared on the brink in Pittsburgh. Oh, playoff hockey, how you swing our emotions.

He told him if he only worked out at his pro day and happened to pull a muscle or suffer another injury

“I have no idea, honestly man,” Howard said when asked why he was used so infrequently at Alabama at the Senior Bowl. “It was kind of a question mark my whole career about that, but I’ve never been able to give an answer to this day.”

Howard came to Alabama as the top tight end recruit in the nation and a consensus five-star prospect, but finished his career with just seven touchdown receptions. His only two games with more than 100 receiving yards were his pair of national championship performances against Clemson.

“I can be a guy like that every game,” Howard said. “Being able to make those plays in big moments is huge, but I feel like I’m the type of player who can do that consistently.

“It was a little bit that the game plan was different and a little bit just being able to make plays — in the right place at the right time and having the opportunities. I was thankful for those games, I got the opportunity to show off the ability that I have in those last two games on a big stage.”
Howard is projected to go in the first round of the draft, but it’s a bit unclear where exactly he’ll land. In SB Nation’s latest mock draft has Howard landing with the Carolina Panthers with the No. 8 overall pick.

Follow the action with our 2017 NFL draft tracker with pick-by-pick results and analysis updating in real-time for all seven rounds.

He told him if he only worked out at his pro day and happened to pull a muscle or suffer another injury, then what? There would not be other workout results for NFL teams to consider. He told him he must work out. So, Garrett did. And Cook said that Garrett is thankful that he listened to Fisher’s combine advice. So is Cook.
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